8th Dec, 2019

Jury in Bethany Hill case told to consider case of defendants separately

Correspondent 24th Jan, 2017

THE JURY in the trial of two people accused of murdering Bethany Hill have been told they must consider the case against each defendant separately.

It has been alleged during the trial at Warwick Crown Court that transgender Kayleigh Woods and her then boyfriend Jack Williams carried out the ‘sadistic’ killing together.

Woods, 23, of Hertford Road, Stratford, and Williams, 21, who was said to have been living with her at the time, have both pleaded not guilty to Beth’s murder on February 3 last year.

Beth’s body was discovered by emergency services in the bathroom of Woods’s ground-floor flat, where she was also living, after a 999 call from Woods at just after 7pm.

But by then her blood-soaked body had been lying in the flat for more than 12 hours after, it is alleged, her wrists and ankles had been bound with tape and her throat had been cut.

In her evidence Woods blamed Williams alone for the alleged ‘sadistic killing,’ and denied playing any part in it.

Williams did not give evidence, but the jury heard from two psychiatrists who suggested he was suffering from diminished responsibility at the time because of mental illness.

Summing up the case, Judge Richard Griffith-Jones told the jury: “This time last year three people were living in a one-bedroom flat – Kayleigh Woods, the deceased Bethany Hill – who was described by Kayleigh Woods as her best friend – and Woods’ boyfriend Jack Williams.

“The emotional interaction between these three was obviously complex.

“Jack Williams and Bethany Hill had once been, for a short time at least, boyfriend and girlfriend, and Jack Williams and Kayleigh Woods were a couple, albeit they separated in October 2015.

“Jack Williams was subject to an order from the court that he should not go to the address, although it’s clear he was back on a regular basis by January 2016.

“Bethany Hill began living at that address in late December 2015, and Kayleigh Woods told you they were planning to have a child together.

“By February 3 Bethany was dead. She had been attacked and received multiple wounds, in particular to the back of her neck, but the fatal wound was a deep cut through her neck.”

The judge said after Beth had been attacked both defendants spent some time away from and inside of the flat and that evening Woods reported Beth’s death to the police.

The prosecution say in the case of Jack Williams it is clear by looking at the evidence that the injuries were caused by him with a knife and he must have used it intending to kill or cause serious injury. They said he has failed to demonstrate he was suffering from diminished responsibility.

But the defence for Jack Williams say it must be proved he committed the murder and if it is proved he is found guilty of manslaughter as doctors said he was suffering from diminished responsibility.

Dealing with Woods, Judge Griffith-Jones said: “The prosecution say Kayleigh Woods was party to this murder.

“The defence say her love for Williams may have been such that it misled her into assisting him afterwards, and that she had played no part in the killing. They say her assistance was after the event.”

The judge told the jury they must decide whether either of the defendant is found guilty of murder, manslaughter or whether there should be a not guilty verdict altogether.

The judge said that to be guilty of murder, there has to be an intention to kill or to cause really serious injury.

He told the jurors: “You must consider the case against and for each defendant separately. Your verdict does not have to be the same.”

The jury will begin considering its verdict today (Tuesday).

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